By Bill Bredin
Johnstown Chiefs Vice President/General Manager
The Tribune-Democrat Editorial
As local hockey fans are probably aware by now, the Chiefs’ lease at the War Memorial Arena has recently been extended, which will ensure that the team will operate in 2009-10 as the only member of the league to remain in its original location since the inception of the ECHL in 1988.
While this is great news, we will immediately set our sights on an arrangement that will secure the Chiefs future in Johnstown for the long term.
The entire organization and its legion of faithful fans owe a great deal of gratitude to Cambria County for providing a platform for the Chiefs to give back to the community. As the Bassewitz study pointed out, there is an economic solution that is mutually beneficial for the taxpayers, the events center and the hockey team.
On the heels of the recent agreement, we immediately rolled back ticket prices to make it more affordable for everyone to enjoy professional hockey. For example, the price of an adult walk-up ticket will drop 17 percent, from $17.50 to $14.50, making it the lowest high-end ticket in the entire ECHL.
Students of all ages can now attend Chiefs games at the child rate of $8, while veterans and seniors can also enjoy a significantly reduced ticket price.
Of course, we will continue to offer great packages to make it affordable for families of all sizes. Our loyal fan base and long-term season ticket holders are the lifeline of the organization, but we hope that the new prices will win back some of the former fans while opening the door to many new faces.
We will continue to offer local children the opportunity to experience the sport behind the scenes and participate with the Chiefs through the “Taste of the Game” program.
We have also created a “Hockey 101” program to educate novice fans and help grow the sport in the community.
Outings to the Chiefs games have long been a popular choice for a fun night for groups of all sizes.
We can work with any organization to create a fun way to reward loyal customers, give incentives to employees, add value to any membership or simply offer a great night of affordable entertainment and group bonding.
We have great group plans and luxury suites available for each game.
As we await the release of the 2009-10 ECHL schedule, we are finalizing what we believe will be our most exciting game-day promotional calendar. We plan to offer great food and beverage discounts, giveaways, the ability to interact with the players, live music and many other game-day events that will make the games more entertaining than ever.
We are extremely excited about the upcoming season and look forward to working with the community, our loyal fan base and corporate partners with hopes that 2009-10 will be our most successful season yet, both on and off the ice.
Now is the time for the citizens of Greater Johnstown, the surrounding business communities and the Chiefs organization to work together to ensure that Johnstown will remain Chiefstown for the next generation.
Our doors at the War Memorial are always open and we welcome your feedback.
Thank you for your continued support.
Bill Bredin is vice president/general manager of the Johnstown Chiefs.